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London Calling by Edward Bloor

London Calling (2006)

by Edward Bloor

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I quite enjoyed London Calling by Edward Bloor, a time travelling story where a young American boy from 2005 travels back to 1940 London during the Blitz by way of an old radio that he inherited from his grandmother. He meets up with another young boy who seems to expect him and who requires him to witness certain events. These events are then used in the future to resolve certain issues. Along the way, his family gets a new direction that puts them on the road to healing.

This is a YA book and I think a very good one, but it is very slow at the start and I don’t know if it would hold the attention of a younger person long enough for them to get immersed in the plot. If they stick with it, they will be rewarded with a very good story that is interesting and has a degree of complexity. The main character is a Catholic and spiritual beliefs come into play as well.

London Calling would be an excellent introduction or jumping off place for young readers to learn about the Blitz. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Dec 4, 2013 |
Seventh-grader Martin Conway believes that his life is monotonous and dull until the night the antique radio he uses as a night-light transports him to the bombing of London.
  KilmerMSLibrary | Apr 29, 2013 |
Decently entertaining and ethical without being ridiculously preachy. Martin travels through time via an old radio, meeting a young boy during the Blitz in 1940 London. He's confused by being pressed to "do his bit" and unravel a mystery of the boy's father. His own father is an alcoholic but Martin still manages a surprisingly healthy relationship with him. Of course time travel is unrealistic, but there are other unrealistic aspects to this novel. Still, worth a look ( )
  quirkylibrarian | Aug 30, 2012 |
I saw this book a few time in the store before I finally bought it, and the only reason why I really bought it was because it had 'London' in the name (I'm very intrigued by London). There was no summary on the back either, just a sentence taken from the book; so all I knew about this book was that a boy magically appeared and needed help. I had no idea this book was about time travel.

I really enjoyed this book. I had my doubts about it when I first started digging into it, just because I did not know what to expect, but I ended up pleasantly surprised at how much I really liked this book.

It was an easy read that kept me interested till the very end. If you are interested in history and the London Blitz and World War 2, you'll really like this story. I actually learned some things from reading this book with all the historical facts that it has in it. That's what really made me like it, the history of London and the fact that half of the book took place in London. Bloor did a very good job in writing that time period, you'll feel like you're in London in 1940 walking right along with the main character, Martin.

The beginning seemed to drag on a little, moved a little slow. But as I kept reading, it picked up and towards the end. I was wanting to cry with Martin, cheer and celebrate for him and his family. The ending was very satisfying, very bittersweet and sad. It's definitely a self-defining book for the characters. It will make you look at your life and wonder what you can do to help. ( )
  taleofnight | Jul 1, 2011 |
Martin Conway is a seventh grader who hates his school. He attends exclusive All Souls Prep on a scholarship because his mother works there as a secretary. There is a lot of ugly tension and bad history between the rich kids at All Souls and the scholarship kids. In the opening pages of the book, Martin gets into a fight with the great-grandson of the school's founder, Henry Lowery, on the last day of class. Over the summer, he becomes more and more withdrawn and depressed, and rarely emerges from his basement room, where he sleeps most of the day.

All this begins to slowly change after his grandmother, with whom he had a special spiritual connection, dies and leaves him an antique radio. When he falls asleep with the radio on, he finds himself transported to the home of Jimmy Harker in London in 1940 during the Blitz. He is not sure if he is dreaming or has actually somehow travelled through time, so he begins writing things down that Jimmy tells him in order to verify the facts. He starts researching the Battle of Britain and the history of radios. Gradually it unfolds that Jimmy is asking for his help, with some unfinished business. He needs Martin to "do his bit to help." Shuffling back and forth through time awakens Martin to a love of history, to the importance of family, and to the pleasure of helping others.

It is kind of difficult to pigeon-hole London Calling. It is a time travel adventure, a historical mystery, and also a poignant coming-of-age story. The novel has an authentic feel to it, even with the time travel storyline. This is in part because of excellent characters, but also because of the author's ability to impart a believable and accurate historic atmosphere. ( )
  chinquapin | Jun 26, 2011 |
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We'll meet again,
Don't know where,
Don't know when,
But I know we'll meet again
Some sunny day.
For Spencer
First words
Each life, in human history, begins when a person starts to walk down a path.
Suddenly I became aware of another person in the room. I sat upright, totally alert, straining to see in the dark. That's when it happened. A boy - small, thin, dressed in mud-brown clothes - leaned out from behind the radio and whispered, "Johnny, will you help me?"
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375843639, Paperback)

Martin Conway comes from a family filled with heroes and disgraces. His grandfather was a statesman who worked at the US Embassy in London during WWII. His father is an alcoholic who left his family. His sister is an overachieving Ivy League graduate. And Martin? Martin is stuck in between--floundering.

But during the summer after 7th grade, Martin meets a boy who will change his life forever. Jimmy Harker appears one night with a deceptively simple question: Will you help?

Where did this boy come from, with his strange accent and urgent request? Is he a dream? It's the most vivid dream Martin's ever had. And he meets Jimmy again and again--but how can his dreams be set in London during the Blitz? How can he see his own grandather, standing outside the Embassy? How can he wake up with a head full of people and facts and events that he certainly didn't know when he went to sleep--but which turn out to be verifiably real?

The people and the scenes Martin witnesses have a profound effect on him. They become almost more real to him than his waking companions. And he begins to believe that maybe he can help Jimmy. Or maybe that he must help Jimmy, precisely because all logic and reason argue against it.

This is a truly remarkable and deeply affecting novel about fathers and sons, heroes and scapegoats. About finding a way to live with faith and honor and integrity. And about having an answer to the question: What did you do to help?

From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:27:34 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Seventh-grader Martin Conway believes that his life is monotonous and dull until the night the antique radio he uses as a night-light transports him to the bombing of London in 1940.

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